Archive for April, 2009

“Preach the Gospel–using few words”

April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, Acts 8:1-89; Jn. 6:35-40 St. Catherine of Siena

To proclaim the Gospel is to practice love, to offer the Bread of life–it is not about judgment, it is not about accepting certain beliefs–but about offering the bread of life–Jesus, and the life he offers is one of wholeness–one that comes from giving and sharing, not taking, and hoarding. His is a life of respect of people,their needs, their rights, and providing that they may be fully human.  St. Frances was right: “Preach the Gospel-use as few words as possible.”

Spent day working on Workman Memorial; outreach; and bed early. Taking it easy this week. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Believe and Live the Faith”

April 29, 2009

April 27 Acts 6: 8-15; Jn. 6:22-29

“Then the Jews asked him, “What shall we do?  What are the works that God wants us to do?”  And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this: that you believe in the One whom God sent.”

My work is to believe in Jesus–to live out that belief in the celebration of the Sacraments, feeding the hungry, and the practice of the works of mercy.  I met with youth leader, and had lunch. spent day hanging out in Hollywood. I am damn tired. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

April 28 Peter Chanel and Louis Mary de Montfort

Acts 7:51-8:1; Jn. 6:30-35

We water down our faith today. We are afraid to offend. We are afraid of losing money and prestige. But Stephen in our Acts reading put his life on the line. He died for witnessing to Jesus. He did not flinch. Today we need to stand for Jesus, today we need to put our faith in action–stand up in the areas of being for same sex marriage, poverty, abuse–we can not waffle, for in so doing we lose who we are. There are risks to be taken, but it is in those risks that we find life.  Stephen prayed in his dying moments.  Here he was,  a man being stoned to death, actually praying for his murderers. Stephen died as violently as any person ever did, and yet he died with as much composure as if he had been going to sleep, knowing full well that he would wake again in the morning of the resurrection, and be received into the presence of God, where he would receive his fullness of joy. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Humity” Feast of St. Mark

April 27, 2009

I P. 5:5b-14; Mk. 16:15-20  April 25

“All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another”. .

Humilty–accepting one another as human beings. That is the way I see humility.  If we would simply meet each other on the same level–then we could see each other as children of God. Mass and a funeral in Vallejo, visited alice, came home and packed and to bus station and trip to Hollywood.  as i walked the streets to the bus station i saw so much suffering, and the gospel is all about the relief of all suffering, both for now and all eternity. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God”

April 26 Acts 3:13-15; 17-19; I Jn. 2:1-5; k. 24:35-48 

Hollywood:  spent afternoon and evening with youth group; bed at 11.  it is strange how many different worlds we live in.  but they are not so different. drugs has touched the lives of at least two families here, but they have money, and are out of sight, but the pain is still the same. on the street it is obvious because of the lack of material comfort and support, but then many wind up on the street because their families or they run through the resources.  life is not much different, just a little more hidden in some spots. deo gratis! thanks be to God!

“Staying in the Moment”

April 25, 2009

April 24-Acts 5:34-42; Jn. 6:1-15

Money is tight, very tight–donations are down, very down–but instead of worrying about money I stay in the moment. I keep on doing what I do. I feed, and I provide what clothing I can, and I provide my time. I do not look back–the moment–is all there is, and I know that “all will be well.” One guy was angry as hell with me tonight because I would not give him a dollar; another was not happy because I would not let him “stay all night”; But that is the way it goes. I saw forty people, all desperately needy, all suffering in one form or another, and I am there for the moment.  I am not their parent, nor am I their Saviour, but I am their friend who walks with them in the moment. Staying in the moment keeps me sane, and keeps me centered.  I spent most of day working on office stuff, some outreach, sermon preparation, always in the moment. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Credible, Caring, Witnesses” Saturday Homily

April 25, 2009

CREDIBLE, CARING, WITNESSES

In the 1985 movie, “Witness”, an 8 year old Amish boy named Samuel Lapp witnesses a murder in a Philadelphia train station bathroom Because of what he as seen the boy, his mother and a police detective who was wounded while trying to protect them are forced to flee from the murderers. Having witnessed a death, their own lives will be endangered until the criminals are brought to justice. In order to survive they hang out in plain sight within a rural Amish community.

Witnessing of another sort is featured in the readings for today. Rather than be witnesses only of the death of their Lord and friend, the disciples were called to witness to his life. Like the young Samuel Lapp, the witnessing of those first believers put their lives in danger.

Charged by the risen Lord to bear authentic witness to the suffering, dying and rising of Jesus and to the forgiveness and salvation that has been made available to all sinners through him, the disciples offered brave and bold testimony. While they had previously been reluctant to raise their voices in public or to attract attention to their association with Jesus, their experience of him as risen made them fearless witnesses. By virtue of that witness, their numbers grew along with their realization that Christ died not just for their sins or only for the sins of the Jews “but for those of all the world.”

The agenda of Jesus was determined by the needs of those he had come to serve. For that reason every place became a venue wherein Jesus would witness to the love of God. In doing so, he extended the tender mercies of God to all human persons without distinction. Nor was there a certain limited time frame in which Jesus offered his testimony; every moment of every day and night, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether planned or spontaneous, every moment was ripe with opportunity for his witness of his words and works.

As always, our reflection on Jesus and on those first followers, through whose witnessing we have come to believe, requires a look inward. Because we have the privilege and responsibility of continuing to testify to the dying and rising of Jesus, ours is a witness that must be true. Like Jesus’ witness, the witness we bear is to be creative, constant and conspicuous. Even before we utter a word, our demeanor with regard to all things and all persons should speak volumes about our care and respect , and about our devotion to all things great and small. On this quality of witness, Thomas Merton once said:

“A saint preaches sermons by the way he walks and the way he stands. .the way he picks things up and holds them in his hands.”

Merton also described a saint as:

“a window through which God’s mercy shines on the world and for this reason he strives to be holy in order that the goodness of God might not be obscured by any selfish act.”

When Merton uses refers to saint he is referring to all of us who are witnesses to the mission and person of Jesus.

St. Frances said: “preach the Gospel at all times but use words sparingly.” The call of the Gospel is for us to witness to Christ with our daily lives—the way we spend our money, the way we treat our neighbor, the way we treat the stranger.

“Being Born Anew”

April 24, 2009

April 23/ Acts 5:27-33; Jn. 3:31-36

If Jesus had came to preach a “new order”; to bring a new government, then we would probably know very little of him, for he would have been a part of the past, but to preach “repentance,  remission of sins” scared the hell out of the powers that be. In other words he sought to have people change their lives, to look at life differently, to be differently. Today we are struggling with people on the street, with housing them, with providing for them, but suppose in the process we preached a new “reign of God”, in a reign in which every one would share, in which power would be irrelevant then the world would be changed. All would be housed, fed, and who knows about the internal lives of people–how many would find it not necessary to use drugs, but enjoy life without them.  To proclaim a new life in which we treat people as equals with respects scares the hell out of the world, for people can not be greedy, and will lose some of their material goods–but oh the benefits. This is what it means to be “born a new”. Eternity is now, in the present!

Spent day cooking, served meal.  Ken and Kyle helped, and being exhausted I went to bed early. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“For God So Loved the World”

April 23, 2009

April 22  Acts 5:17-26; Jn. 3:16-21

“For God so loved the world that he gave her only begotten son. . .”

“Christians in their relationships should be the most human people
you will ever see. This speaks for God in an age of inhumanity and
impersonality and facelessness. When people look at us, their
reaction should be, “These are human people” — human, because we
know that we differ from the animal, the plant, and the machine;
and that personality is native to what has always been [human]. If
they cannot look upon us and say, “They are real people”, nothing
else is enough.”
… Francis A. Schaeffer, “The God Who is There”

Jesus came because God saw the potential of humanity. She loves humanity so much that he was willing to do anything to save it.  He was willing to suffer the worst death, to become human, to experience the humanity and then to go through the worst pain.  He dared to feel our pain. That is what following Jesus is all about–to feel the pain of humanity–to walk with humanity, and to love human beings back to God. People see me working with the street kids and they get teary eyed and in pain, and then leave. I appear to be not feeling anything, but the reality is I feel their pain–I suffer with them. I may not show it, but I feel their pain. A part of working with people is to embrace their pain, and let it become a part of your life, and accept it as a part of your life and be with them.  That is what I do. It is not something I see, feel for a moment and then go back to my nice life, it is what I feel in the moment and all day.  I struggle for money to help meet the need, and it is a struggle, I take their insults and their abuse, all knowing that God loved them and loves them and continues to love them through me, and then through the next person to follow me.

Went out to Ocean Beach, basically slept in the car for four hours, and took a walk, and then came home and did outreach. It was great being alone and not having anyone in my place last night.  Long day tomorrow with meal and meeting in the morning.

“Communism or Simply Being Human”

April 22, 2009

Acts 4:32-37; Jn. 3:7-15

“The whole community of believers was, one in heart and mine. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but rather they shared all things in common.”

Native Americans did the same thing, until the explorers came to the shores. All was shared in common and no one wanted for any thing.  I was told last week when I shared this scripture that I was sounding like a “communist”;  I can remember promoting Unicef in churches I pastored being accused of being a “communist” sympathizer.  The reality is that when all things are held in common,  that no one wants for anything.  That is the teaching of the Scriptures–to share, to hold in  common–means that all are provided for. Eternity is now, and we live out eternity in the way we treat people. When we see that then we see that all can be provided for.  To throw the word “communist” in one’s face is to shut off one’s ability to give, out of the goodness of one’s life and heart, it is to make political what is simply just humanity.  If we begin to look outside of ourselves and share then many of the material problems in this world will be ended.

I spent day cooking and with the young Jesuit novice. He is seeing life from a different perspective, and I hope understanding that life is life, and that one should approach it as such and live it out. Served meal, and went to bed early. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“You Must be Born Again”

April 21, 2009

April 20, Acts 4:23-31; Jn. 3:1-8

“You must be born again” is so often used by fundamentalists and it is very appropriate. For one to encounter Jesus, to enter into a new life he has to give up, or be willing to give up that which is selfish and holds him or her into him or herself.  To be born again means to have a new way of living, of seeing people as God’s children, and of seeing your self as their equal. It means sharing what you have. It means walking with them in their pain, their hurt, and their dying. It means dying to self–and be open to God and therefore to others.  It means giving, giving of yourself to the world. It is not easy, but for one to truly live a full life one must be born again–die to the old.

Spent day going to foodbank; chopping up food; outreach. Justin, 23 year old Jesuit novice with me past two days. I am tired of answering questions about the life on the street.  The reality is I need to be available to the people I work with.  Justin leaves Wednesday, and I am  glad. Have mass going to LA this weekend for a group, and rest. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“New Life is In Sharing”

April 20, 2009

April 19 Acts 4:32-35 I Jn. 5:1-6; Jn. 20:19-31

Visiting a Grave

A Psalm of E=MC2 Easter

Brother Einstein’s Easter Law
delights my hopeful heart,
which wishes to never die.

For that quantum equation maintains
that matter taken to the speed of light squared
is turned into pure energy again.

My body, so subject to sickness,
to aging and death’s cold bite,
is a companion human body of Christ
who encountered the kiss of death
upon Good Friday’s consecrated cross.

The lifeless matter of his once vibrant body
was carried away to the grave,
condemned to become a worm’s decaying dinner.

Yet, you who are Life could not stand to see
your beloved’s body decay,
so you carried out once again
your first and awesome act of creation.

You reanimated the matter of his body
and moved its molecules
at more than the speed of light,
and it was again transformed
into the Light of Lights,
into pure eternal energy.

In your infinite design
nothing dies;
it only changes form,
until it finally and forever changes
into your form,
into the energy of the light of Love Divine.

Take hope, my heart,
be firm, my feeble faith,
for the matter of the flesh and bone I call me
will also become an Einstein Easter Event.
From Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Ed Hays

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Prayer for Visiting a Grave in a Cemetery

God of Abraham and of Moses,
Lord of the Living, who visited Jesus within His grave
and filled Him with the fullness of eternal life,
hear our prayer this day
as we come to the burial place of (name).

With reverence, we visit this sacred shrine
where his/her body was placed
within the womb of the earth
to await the final day of glory.

We pause in silence to be united with him/her.

pause for silent prayer

Lord, we have come on this pilgrimage of prayer
to keep the flame of love alive within our hearts.

As we read his/her name upon the marker-stone,
we rejoice because that name has been written for all ages
in the palm of Your divine hand.

May the breath of creation that surrounds this grave—
in trees, grass and earth, birds and sun—
join us in prayer.

May this pilgrimage remind us of what we already know:
that nothing dies;
rather, life is only transformed into new life.

Holy is this grave,
holy this earth that has held in gentle embrace
the bodies of all who are buried in this cemetery.

Lord,
with reverence, we leave a wreath of worship at this grave,
woven with love, adorned with memories
and with our faith in the reality
of that earthen Easter morning
when all the holy dead shall rise
in the splendor of Your glory.

Till that day, eternal rest to (name)
and to all the holy dead.

Amen
From Prayers for the Domestic Church by Ed Hays

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These are beautiful words from Edward Hayes. The scripture from Acts is about sharing, each equally with another. If everyone did this no one would be in need, there would be enough resources for everyone and there would not be a violation of resources.  Someone asked me today when I was talking about this if this was a “communist” saying, and I laughed, it is purely Christian.  If we move beyond ourselves and share with our neighbors–all would have enough.  That is one of the reasons I have never sought large grants or to build a great agency–it is in the one on one that people are touched, it is where their humanness is recognized. I have a young Jesuit novice with me the next couple of days and he commented about people knowing me and about seeing them as human beings.  He stayed in a shelter a couple of nights and found himself being treated as  an “object”.  To truly touch another one must walk with them and suffer with them.   I walk with people, and know them and care for them as individuals. If all of us did this then the basic human needs would be met.

Visited Alice in nursing home, gave her the Eucharist and anointed her. She is struggling. Dinner with Stephen and then on the street.  Bed at 12:30 a.m. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!